February 10, 2009 09:00 PM

Scorching temperatures down under have prompted some very parched koalas to do some extraordinary things to survive. A group of cyclists in Southern Australia say that this thirsty koala flagged them down so it could take a drink from their water bottles. “Even though we had heard that native animals had been suffering in the heat-wave conditions of the last week in Adelaide, it came as a surprise to be stopped on the side of the road during a bike ride by a thirsty young koala,” Tim Noonan told ABC Adelaide. “The koala uncharacteristically approached us, and it became clear by the manner in which he grabbed the water bottle and the enthusiastic way he gulped it down that his thirst was a priority.”

Deb Kelly, a spokeswoman from the animal welfare unit of the Department of Environment and Heritage, which is treating about 100 dehydrated koalas, told ABC that the actions of this koala were very rare, and that this little guy was probably a weaning youngster that had devised this plan of stopping cyclists as a means of survival. Koalas typically get refreshment from gum leaves but the heat wave has dried those trees out.

Snapshots of another koala trying to cool down in a bucket of water on someone’s porch made its way around the Internet late last week. In a video posted on YouTube on Jan. 31, a man is filmed giving a koala some water from a backyard hose. “This little guy has been here three days,” he says. “Hopefully we can get him through this heat wave and back to his gum trees.”

We hope these furry Aussie friends get some relief soon!

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